PUD more prepared for winter

Snohomish County PUD is adding a few million dollars to its tree-trimming operation, upgrading its phone system and stockpiling replacement parts.

After the snow and windstorms of 2006 — the most damaging and expensive storms in the utility’s history — the PUD explored how it could stay ahead of winter storms.

More than 1.2 million people in the region were left without power, including thousands in the PUD’s 2,200-square-mile service area.

“This will help us get out in the field quicker and help minimize power outages,” said Neil Neroutsos, a spokesman for the utility.

The PUD trims trees and brush from more than 500 miles of line every year. This year, it spent $2 million more on clearing vegetation from power lines, bringing its tree-trimming budget to about $7 million.

During the 2006 storms, replacing blown transformers was delayed in some cases because the utility’s supply of replacement transformers had run short. A supplier in the southeastern United States, still reeling from disruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina a year before, couldn’t build new transformers fast enough.

The utility has built up its inventory of “ready-to-go” equipment baskets that can help crews hit the road quickly and fully prepared. It has increased supplies of transformers, wire, insulators, bolts, connectors and cross-arms and entered into mutual aid agreements with other utilities to help move materials where they are needed most.

Upgrades to the utility’s phone system now allow it to handle up to 10,000 calls per hour. The new phone system allows people to report outages more efficiently and also to learn information about outages affecting them, Neroutsos said.

The utility also is keeping a closer eye on developing storms so that it can better mobilize its work force, Neroutsos said.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Glacier Lanes won’t be spared: Owners decide to close forever

Bowlers statewide are rallying to open venues shut by COVID rules, but this Everett business isn’t waiting.

Updated 2020 primary election results for Snohomish County

Returns for contested races and ballot measures, updated daily as mail-in ballots are counted.

Police dog nabs, nips man suspected of burgling smoke shops

Monroe police arrested a man after two smoke shops were broken into Monday morning.

Some waited months for jobless benefits, and some wait still

Not all 81,000 cases are resolved, but some people finally received thousands of dollars in back payments.

Deputies: ‘Abnormal strength’ led to forceful arrest in 2018

Newly released reports give Snohomish County deputies’ side in a case that’s now central to a lawsuit.

Small hospitals weather the pandemic, but with heavy losses

Another economic shutdown could mean “difficult decisions” for EvergreenHealth Monroe and others.

Marysville sues Arlington over plan for 500 apartments

Marysville worries the major project on 51st Avenue NE will gum up traffic at a nearby intersection.

Everett Memorial Stadium to host COVID-19 test site again

The site provides capacity for 500 tests per day, the Snohomish Health District said.

Man stabbed and dies after parking lot fight near Everett

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office detectives are looking for suspects from the fracas.

Most Read